Digital transformation is no longer optional. It is a crucial step for any forward-thinking business that wants to boost customer relationships and maintain a competitive advantage. However, with so many advanced technologies, adopting digital transformation can be a challenge.
Here is how to start the digital transformation process.
- Set Goals and Have a Plan
Digital transformation is not all about the latest technology solutions. Instead, it represents the process of using these technologies to transform your existing business processes and culture to meet the industry’s changing needs.
Therefore, digital transformation is highly customer-centric. It enables you to get the most out of your data to understand your customers, deliver targeted user experiences, and create a deeper emotional connection.
That is why you should start by evaluating where your business stands now in terms of people, processes, data management, and technology. Run detailed assessments and, based on them, set clear goals for the future. Build a roadmap of the methods and tools you need to invest in to get there.
- Build a Digital Culture
To start the process of digital transformation, you first need to define your company’s culture. Digital transformation cannot thrive in multi-layered environments where there is no harmony between teams and business operations.
The adoption of digital solutions falls to every member of your team. Given that, you need to perceive it as a people issue.
The idea is to improve the efficiency and transparency across your internal organizations. Measure progress using relevant data. Focus on eliminating the silo mentality. Adopt the growth mindset and helpfulness. Apart from rewarding individuals or teams for exceptional results, you should also measure their contribution to other departments and your organization overall.
With advanced tech solutions as an enabler, you can eliminate the hierarchy of a traditional company structure, maximize operational fluidity, and create cross-functional teams.
- Choose your Tools Carefully
Over the past few years, the number of Martech tools has reached 7,000. Any business owner developing a digital transformation strategy can be tempting to invest in a wide range of software solutions, hoping they will do the job for them.
Unfortunately, digital transformation does not work that way. Behind every tech solution, there is a purpose. By experimenting with a wide range of shiny new toys without having a clear strategy, you will be pushed and pulled in several directions that may distract you from reaching your end goal. To avoid falling into the vendor trap, always ask yourself whether the solution is in line with your company’s long-term goals and KPIs.
Let’s take a simple example of keyword analysis. Imagine you want to find a CBD store near you. In that case, your intent is commercial – you are ready to make a purchase. On the other hand, when googling “types of CBD products,” you want to learn more about the subject. Therefore, using many keyword research tools and relying on metrics, such as search volume or competition, is not enough. You need a tool that analyzes searchers’ intent and, based on it, helps you match keywords with the right content on your website.
- Have a Data Strategy
While it is an opportunity to understand your customers and identify the latest industry trends, data collection can be tedious. When not managed and analyzed strategically, the data pieces coming from various sources are fragmented, not allowing you to bring them together into a cohesive whole.
Precisely because of that, you should have a detailed data strategy that starts with clear goals and outcomes. That way, you filter out irrelevant data and focus on the information pieces that matter to your business. Otherwise, you would end up with incomplete information you cannot extract value from. Even advanced technologies, such as machine learning and artificial intelligence, are useless without measurable and realistic data.
- Analyze for Insights
Once you start collecting data, do not let it sit still on your servers. Analyze this data to gain better insights into your business operations and help you respond to changes more effectively. However, with the rise of advanced data analytics tools, your company’s roles and power structure have changed.
In the past, key business decisions were made by your company’s managers that have the most experience and access to the company’s sensitive data. With the rise of big data and advanced data analytics systems, this trend has changed. These tools automate the data analytics process and make company insights accessible to everyone in the team.
In the digital transformation process, technology is only an enabler. To make it work, you first need to set manageable goals, build a digital transformation plan, and cultivate a digital culture. Focus on eliminating silos between teams. Most importantly, keep tweaking your strategy and learn to be comfortable with failure.